Concert Review: Red Fang - Auckland, 18th May 2018

All Photos by Mark Derricutt

All Photos by Mark Derricutt

By Mark Derricutt

Artist: Red Fang

Date / Venue: 18th May; 2018, Whammy Bar, Auckland

The moment the announcement was made that the Portland, Oregon based act Red Fang were returning to New Zealand (almost 3 years to the day), jokes about the band showing up on time circled the online forums. Discussions reminiscing a somewhat botched tour that left the band in Australia as their opening acts tried to fill both space and time until the band arrived around 2:30 AM and ripped up the now long-gone King's Arms Tavern in Auckland.

That was a time long gone; now Wellington-based Valhalla Touring have taken up the mantle of bringing down-under some of the best acts in the stoner/rock/metal scene… but I digress…

It was a dank and dreary night following a day of intense rain - perfect for a hot sweaty club and dirty filthy rock, walking into Auckland's Whammy Bar and seeing a barrier in front of the already small stage was an unexpected sight; having seen many people get pushed onto the stage and disrupting both bands and equipment alike; this was a welcome change, and it wasn't long until Auckland based Sere hit that stage and transported the room to an other-worldly place.

I don't know what meaning the band places on their name, but for me ‘serene chaos’ fits the bill. Infectious and full of droning groove laced with ethereal vocal wails. Not only is Sere a joy to listen to, but to watch; the facial expressions of drummer Bridge Shoebridge just exude joy.

Following on from Sere comes Hamilton based Wolf Wizard. Whilst Sere brought us serene peace amongst the chaos, Wolf Wizard brings the riffs, deep tones and solos tempered against rough gravelly vocals. I'm in my happy place with this one...

Following a set covering the bands recently released album ‘Cursed’ it's time for Red Fang and I'm finding myself regretting only bring a wide angle prime lens. Whammy is now full to the brim, movement is becoming harder and harder, and the smell of 'substance' in the air overbearing, the air is primed and electric as the amps hum to themselves.

I've said it before and I'll say it again, quality bands put out quality albums, then tour quality shows. Red Fang is one such act, every note, riff, and hook sounds spot on. Underneath the distortion and feedback, there's a set whose quality cannot be denied, for me tonight the flip side of that flawless delivery hit me with a sense of "ho-hum" last night I just didn't feel it (and I clearly recognise that enjoyment of a gig is dictated not only by the band but the listener).

Red Fang was on fire performance-wise, intense, full of energy, and one could see the band was feeding as much off the audience as they were the band.

For me, the exuberance I felt watching both Sere and Wolf Wizard waned, leaving them my favourite memories of the evening.

Eventually, the open drone of resonating chords left to die as the band leave the stage signalled the evening was over, or just beginning and I made my way to the darkened night...


Setlist courtesy of / thanks to: Sarah Kidd Ambient Light

Red Fang:

·         Blood Like Cream

·         Malverde

·         Crows in Swine

·         Into the Eye

·         Not for You

·         Antidote

·         Wires

·         Flies

·         Cut It Short

·         Sharks

·         Number Thirteen

·         The Smell of Sound

·         Dirt Wizard

·         Prehistoric Dog

·         Hank Is Dead [encore]

·         Throw Up [encore]


Wolf Wizard Setist:

·         Black Crows

·         Rotting

·         Mystic

·         Desert Walker

·         Snow

·         Devils Charms

·         Witch Hat


Sere Setlist:

·         Collision

·         Lock the Gate

·         Something Fucking Special

·         Rampage

·         Burn

·         Vortex

·         Numb Nutt